Sunday, January 13, 2019

The 12 Books I Read in 2018 (and the Ones I Didn't)

Last January, I vowed to read 12 books in 2018. Don't get me wrong, I love to read and am passionate about books, but when reading and writing is part of your day job, it can be tempting to skip doing it for leisure. At the same time, being well read is so important for writers to constantly expand your vocabulary and be exposed to different styles and dialects. My hour-long train ride (each way) to work last year definitely helped me meet my goal, which I intentionally didn't set so high that it felt like a chore.

Among these books are classics—like the 1,000 page Gone With the Wind and the short novel And Then There Were None—but there are also just-for-fun beach reads and crime novels. There were also a few books I started and abandoned, because life is too dang short to suffer through a book that doesn't speak to you. Below, I'm sharing a few thoughts on each one. What's on your reading list for 2019?

The Jazz Bird
My favorite era is the 1920s, so this prohibition-era murder mystery novel was right up my alley. Flawed characters keep you constantly questioning who you're really rooting for.

Pachinko
This bestselling historical fiction book is a must-read that's chock-full of insights into events that have shaped the Koreas we know today. It's a long one, but kept me hooked the whole way. A woman on the subway commented while I was reading one day that the plot is a bit melodramatic, and well, she's right, but I didn't mind.

Frances Gould
I wanted to switch things up and read a piece of nonfiction, which I don't often do, and I was interested in this piece about a wealthy socialite who got in bed with the Nazi party during World War II. Her reputation, and her fortune, survived with nary a scratch. It was really interesting to learn about how the other half was affected by the war, and how one woman played that to her advantage, with no regard for who it hurt along the way. It was an interesting story, but I was ready for something lighter when I was done.

The Identicals (abandoned Eligible)
That something lighter came in the form of my favorite beach read author, Elin Hilderbrand. I've read a ton of her books, which mostly take place on Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard. All of her books, including this one, are easy reads with lots of insights about family dynamics, love, and relationships. Before this, I started Eligible, a modern take on Pride and Prejudice. I accidentally left it on the plane to our honeymoon, and wasn't that enamored by it to purchase the book again, so I went with an old favorite instead.

Gone With The Wind
Holy 1,000 pages Batman. This was the longest book I've ever read, but well worth it. Gone With The Wind has always been my favorite movie, but I hadn't read the book until this year. I loved being able to contrast the differences in plot and characters. While there are a lot of flawed assertions about race and slavery (the book was written in the 1930s), it's a must-read that details the fall of the old south, a woman's lot during that time, and aftermath of the Civil War.

Matchmaking For Beginners
I picked this book as a free Kindle Firsts download, and it was worth the read. The ending was a bit predictable, but the characters were well developed, and I love a good happy ending.

Happiness Project
I read this book many years ago and couldn't identify with a lot of it—marriage, finances, family. I'm glad I gave it a second read, because it really hits home at this point in life. From the many mantras I extracted from this self-help read, my favorite is this one: "The days are long but the years are short."

And Then There Were None
This classic murder mystery is a fun, easy read. No, I didn't figure it out before the ending, but Sean insists he was able to.

Motherhood (abandoned)
When one of my favorite influencers posted about this book on Instagram, I immediately wanted to read it. I really wanted to like this book, but the stream-of-consciousnesses writing style just didn't jive with me. Read a few of the Amazon reviews and be convinced to give it a try by those who connected with her poetic writing. I'm just a traditionalist who needs full sentences, so I didn't get very far into this one before dropping it.

The Execution
I found a book laying around the office that was written by Dick Wolf, the producer of Law & Order. I'm a huge SVU fan and knew I wanted to read it. It was like one big Law & Order episode so I of course loved it. The story is part of a series about the main character, Jeremy Fisk, but I had no problem catching up with the main players.

A Well Behaved Woman
I got to review this book for Quest Magazine, and it was one of my favorite historical fiction pieces. It offers another point of view for a notorious society woman, Alva Vanderbilt. You can check out my review for more insight!

The Witch of Blackbird Pond
For my October book, I wanted to read something on-theme, since Halloween is my favorite holiday. I love colonial history as well, and I really enjoyed this look into puritan New England. It's also a fast, easy read.

Daughters of the Lake
This book was another free read from Kindle advance, and really worth the read. It was a murder-mystery that followed characters past and present with a little sci-fi twist.

Winter Solstice
A beach read for the wintertime? I saw another book by my favorite easy-read novelist, Elin Hilderbrand, in the bookstore around the holidays and had to pick it up. I mean, I read Gone with the Wind, so I deserved a few fun ones, amiright?

25 comments:

  1. Nice books, didn't read any
    https://www.melodyjacob.com/

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  2. I don't know these books but they sounds very interesting to read... Have a happy new week!
    https://chicchedimamma.com/

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  3. I tried to read 12 books last year too (one a month), I think I almost got there!

    Great books you read last year, some of those are on my list :)

    xx

    http://anoddgirl.blogspot.com.au

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  4. Reading is one of my goals for 2019, thanks for these suggestions , I will definitely check them out.

    Nina's Style Blog

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  5. Thanks for sharing your reads! I had a goal of 12 books last year as well, and I think I did a bit better, but I lost count. I just wanted to make sure I was picking up a book once a month. I'm always good with my fiction, I can't put it down, but when it comes to self help, I'm the worst. I got the happiness project with the intent of reading it this month and got about one chapter in and now haven't touched it in 10 days.
    Chic on the Cheap

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  6. I need to read more too! Actually it is my goal this year, so I need to try some books you suggested. Want to become friends on GFC? Let me know, xx

    MY BLOG | INSTAGRAM

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  7. Amazing titles I love Gone with the Wind there is part 2 of this book I read but I think the original story is so much better and special as it is. Thanks for sharing these titles babe xoxo Cris
    https://photosbycris.blogspot.com/2019/01/my-holiday-style-with-rosegal.html

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  8. Those are really good books.
    I still have several books to read,
    I'm always buying books even if at times I do not have enough time
    to read them...oh someday.

    Ann
    https://roomsofinspiration.blogspot.com/

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  9. Thank you very much for the recommendation◝(ᵔᵕᵔ)◜

    Blog de la Licorne

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  10. nice interesting book list :)
    http://ohladymania.blogspot.com/

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  11. This is such a beautiful list of books! I also have a plan to read 12 books this year, and til now I already read three!
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  12. You read a lot of books, even if you didn't finish them all. I agree with not reading books that don't work for - there are so many great books to read instead! I would love to read more this year, I hope I can achieve it! :)

    Hope that you are having a wonderful weekend :) Our summer heatwave is continuing, today will be a quiet day in the aircon I think!

    Away From The Blue Blog

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  13. Great list! I can say I haven't read any books from here. By the titles they sound interesting.

    www.fashionradi.com

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  14. Have a beautiful week...
    https://chicchedimamma.com/

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  15. My greatest respect to you, dear! It´s a bunch of books! I hope to read more this year too.

    XO

    Daria

    https://www.dbkstylez.com

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  16. Wow, you have done really well. I need to read more this year. I am thinking to get more time for reading <3
    http://www.rakhshanda-chamberofbeauty.com/

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  17. Hi everyone!
    I’m so excited! Thanks to Dr. Ahmed for bringing back my Ex-husband and brought great joy to me today! Ahmedutimate@gmail.com is certainly the best spell caster online, if you need your Ex lover back fast! And his result is 100% guarantee….
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  18. Oh very itneresting books darling
    I read over 40 book the past year. I hope tyo read 100 books this year Wish me luck
    xx

    ReplyDelete
  19. So many good options! Adding all of these to my reading list :)

    Erica
    www.eggcanvas.com

    ReplyDelete
  20. Hi everyone!
    I’m so excited! Thanks to Dr. Ahmed for bringing back my Ex-husband and brought great joy to me today! Ahmedutimate@gmail.com is certainly the best spell caster online, if you need your Ex lover back fast! And his result is 100% guarantee….
    After 12years of marriage, me and my husband has been into one quarrel or the other until he finally left me and moved to California to be with another woman. I felt my life was over and my kids thought they would never see their father again. I tried to be strong just for the kids but I could not control the pain that torments my heart, my heart was filled with sorrows and pains because I was really in love with my husband. Every day and night I think of him and always wish he would come back to me, I was really upset and I needed help, so I searched for help online and I came across a website that suggested that Dr Ahmed can help get ex back fast. So, I felt I should give him a try. I contacted him and he told me what to do and I did it then he did a (Love spell) for me. 18 hours later, my husband really called me and told me that he miss me and the kids so much, So Amazing!! So that was how he came back that same day, with lots of love and joy, and he apologized for his mistake, and for the pains he caused me and the kids. Then from that day, our Marriage was now stronger than how it was before, all thanks to Dr Ahmed he is so powerful and I decided to share my story on the internet that Dr Ahmed real and powerful spell caster who I will always pray to live long to help his children in the time of trouble, if you are here and you need your Ex back or your husband moved to another woman, do not cry anymore, contact this powerful spell caster now. Here’s his contact:
    Email him at: Ahmedutimate@gmail.com
    Call / what’s-app him: +2348160153829

    ReplyDelete
  21. You quite an avid reader must say, I did like gone with the wind
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